Depot Doings: Leeds, AL / Knoxville, TN / Bessemer, AL / Toccoa, GA

southern-railway-logoFeatured Southern Railway depots on the blog this month are those in Leeds, Alabama; Knoxville, Tennessee; Bessemer, Alabama; and Toccoa Georgia.

The depot at Knoxville was built in 1903. The Southern Terminal is a former railway complex to include a passenger terminal and express depot adjacent to a large railyard. During the 1850’s the arrival of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad and its predecessor lines transformed Knoxville into one of the southeast’s major wholesaling centers. In 1894 the ETV&G was absorbed by the Southern Railway, which in turn became part of the Norfolk Southern Railway in 1982.

The depot at Leeds, AL was built in 1883-84, following the completion of the Georgia & Pacific RR between Birmingham and Atlanta. The G&P remained until it was taken over by the Richmond & Danville RR in 1885, succeeded by the Southern Railway in 1894. Efforts to save the building were in 1980 after the Southern merger with Norfolk Southern. The depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places prior to the restoration completion in 1984. In 1999, the City of Leeds turned the old baggage room into a public meeting room. Two other rooms in the depot are a museum featuring railroad history, records and artifacts.

The Alabama Great Southern Railroad Company completed construction of the Bessemer passenger terminal in March 1916 at a cost of $30,000. The structure is 170 ft long and 50 ft with exterior walls of pressed brown brick. The ticket office was located in the center of the building and today contains original cabinets and desks. Today the depot is home to the Bessemer Hall of History.

The depot at Toccoa, GA was built in 1915. Much, however, is known about the adjacent railroad line. Built originally as the Atlanta & Richmond Air-Line in 1873. In 1877, the railroad was renamed Atlanta and Charlotte Air-Line Railway and in 1894 became part of the Southern Railway, which in turn became the Norfolk Southern. Today the Amtrak Crescent (old Southern Crescent) makes regular stops there. The depot has been restored to its appearance in 1940 and houses the Toccoa-Stephens Chamber of Commerce, the Welcome Center, the Stephens County Historical Society and Currahee Military Museum.


Rock on Trains © 2015, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Depot Doings: Nashville, IL / Knoxville, TN / Wetumpka, AL / Cartersville, GA

LN-logoFeatured Louisville & Nashville depots on the blog this month are those in Nashville, IL; Knoxville, TN; Wetumpka, AL; and Cartersville, GA.

The depot at Knoxville was built in 1905. It served as a passenger station until 1968 when the L&N ceased passenger service to Knoxville. The station continued to house L&N offices until 1975. It remained vacant until 1980 when Alex Harkness and his partners purchased it. In 1982 it was renovated for use during the Worlds Fair. In 1985 it was further renovated by Alex Harkness and Station 82 partners for use as office and special events.

The depot at Nashville, Illinois, was built in 1885 as part of the L&N’s expansion through Southern Illinois in the 1880’s. The building has a simple vernacular design common to L&N depots in small towns, which were intended to be functional rather than elaborate. The depot also served as an information center for Nashville. The depot remained in service as late as the 1950’s but closed sometime prior to 1984. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places March 1, 1985.

The depot in Wetumpka, Alabama, was built in 1906. The station served as a passenger and freight depot until service was terminated in the 1930’s and as a freight depot until 1973. In 1975 it was purchased by the First Methodist Church of Wetumpka and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cartersville, Georgia’s former NC&StL depot looks a bit stubby because the freight room, which occupied some three-fourths of the buildings 200 foot length was demolished in 1972. The surviving passenger section dates to 1902. Parts of the walls on the freight side are older, dating back to the 1850’s and 1860’s. The original Western & Atlantic depot on this site was constructed in 1854. In 1890 the W&A was leased to the NC&StL which merged with the L&N in 1957. L&N was folded into CSX in 1980. CSX still operates the line under a lease from the State of Georgia, which has owned it through its entire history.


Rock on Trains © 2015, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.

Depot Doings: Valdosta, GA / Hogansville, GA / Knoxville, TN / Homestead, FL / Montezuma, GA / Marshallville, GA

Depot Doings for January 2014:

Atlantic Coast Line depot is Valdosta, GA (1964); Atlanta & West Point depot, Hogansville, GA (2009); Southern Railway depot, Knoxville, TN (1970’s); Florida East Coast depot, Homestead, FL (1964); Central of Georgia depot, Montezuma, GA (1978); Central of Georgia depot, Marshallville, GA (1978).

  • The ACL depot in Valdosta, GA was built in 1907 and razed in 1994.
  • The FEC depot in Homestead, FL has been removed and relocated to the Pioneer Museum at Florida City, FL.
  • The AWP depot in Hogansville, Georgia, was constructed between 1890 and 1900. After the railroad vacated the depot, it was used for a time as a childcare center. Between 2003 and 2007 it was restored for use as a railroad-themed restaurant.
  • The Southern Railway station at Knoxville, Tennessee, was built in 1903. Following the departure of the last passenger train in August 1970 it started to fall into disrepair. The station was fully restored in 1989 and now serves as the headquarters for a prominent architectural firm.
  • The C of G depot at Marshallville, GA was built in 1912. It has been restored and now houses a restaurant.
  • The C of G depot at Montezuma, GA was constructed in 1890 with additions added in 1924 and 1929. The building was restored in 2001-2002 and now serves as the Macon County Museum.

All images courtesy of www.rr-fallenflags.org.


Rock on Trains © 2014, Tom Rock + T.D.R. Productions.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Tom Rock is strictly prohibited.